2018 NFL Picks Week 7: Rejoice! Derek Anderson is Back!
Last Week: 8-5-1
Bit of a bounce-back, but we have a ways to go before we’ve made up for some of our early season follies, like thinking Blake Bortles could play football after dominating the Pats. We won’t be making that mistake again this week (or going anywhere near the putrid Houston-Jacksonville game), nor will we be expecting Oakland to accomplish anything. At least we get to pick against Nathan Peterm…Derek Anderson?!
Arizona Cardinals +2 vs. Denver Broncos
Okay, so this one went belly-up quickly. For some reason I thought the Cardinals would be energized playing at home and give the thus-far underwhelming Broncos a tough game. Then Josh Rosen threw two pick-sixes in the first quarter and I went back to playing video games. Let’s just make a note not to overreact to this game when we make our picks next week and move on.
Los Angeles Chargers -6.5 vs. Tennessee Titans
At first I figured the less-than-a-touchdown line between one of the league’s most explosive offenses and one of the league’s most implosive offenses was a reflection of the game being played at a neutral site in London, and I paused. Then I remembered the Chargers play most of their “home” games in front of a neutral-or-worse crowd, and went all in. Unless the Titans can translate their significant edge in special teams (seriously, Chargers, we still can’t solve that one?) into a victory over a team superior in every other facet of the game, this game shouldn’t be close. Give me L.A.’s 29.2 points per game over Tennessee’s 14.5 every day and twice on Sundays.
Carolina Panthers +4.5 at Philadelphia Eagles
Two first half fumbles from Carolina’s DJ Moore dug them a deep hole early, and they still had a chance to win on the last drive of the game. If the Panthers can avoid handing the ball to the Eagles this week, they should be able to pull out a road victory against the defending Super Bowl champs, who are still struggling to find their footing. I’m not overly enthusiastic about their drubbing of the Giants last week, so unless Carson Wentz makes giant strides, 4.5 points is expecting too much.
So let’s see…the Jets have been considerably better than the Vikings on defense and special teams, Sam Darnold has impressed lately, and they’re 4 point underdogs at home? The Jets don’t boast a fearsome pass rush, but they’ll make life difficult for Kirk Cousins while the offense tries to sustain some of its big play magic. Minnesota hasn’t looked good enough to be favored on the road just yet.
Indianapolis Colts -7.5 vs. Buffalo Bills
Josh Allen is injured. Nathan Peterman can’t stop throwing interceptions, many of which are returned for touchdowns. The Bills will turn the keys to their offense over to…Derek Anderson, who hasn’t played regularly in over a year and boasts a career TD-to-INT ratio of 1:1. Granted, Buffalo would benefit greatly from such relative caution, but their defense has to wear down at some point. The Colts have done a good job getting the ball out of Andrew Luck’s hands so far this season, and without the turnovers and general chaos Buffalo generates in their wins, the Colts should win by at least two scores.
New England Patriots -4 at Chicago Bears
With the standard 3-point home advantage, this line suggests the Bears are just a touchdown away from the Patriots. They are not. Mitch Trubisky might score an opening-drive touchdown, but I’ve seen the Patriots come into Chicago against a high-performing Bears defense before. The year was 2010, and the Pats dropped 36 points on our heads before giving up a touchdown. Khalil Mack and co. won’t be able to hold Tom Brady and the New England offense in check long enough to prevent this game from getting out of hand.
Cleveland Browns +3 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Both teams are pretty bad, but I’m giving Cleveland the edge because I believe in their defense and Tampa Bay’s offensive statistics are still bolstered greatly by the early-season Fitzmagic. The Bucs almost pulled out a win in Atlanta this week, but somehow they only scored 29 points on the Falcons’ defense. Jameis is going to struggle, the Browns will benefit from extra possessions, and Baker Mayfield will look good against Tampa Bay’s 32nd-ranked defense. Let’s take the points.
New Orleans Saints +2.5 at Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore seems to have the edge, but I just can’t envision Joe Flacco performing well enough all game to stay out ahead of Drew Brees. Even with 11 sacks against a hapless Titans team, the Ravens only reached 21 points last week. The Saints score 21 points before finding their rhythm, and this game will be no exception. I think the Saints will win outright.
Dallas Cowboys +1.5 at Washington Redskins
Do I believe in the recent resurgence in Dallas after watching them rack up 40 points on the once-vaunted Jacksonville defense? More than I did, certainly, but not without reservations. I do, however, think they have Washington’s number, as you can see from the results of their last four games. Washington only scored 23 points last week despite Carolina’s aforementioned fumbles, and Dallas’s defense has been surprisingly good. Alex Smith has replaced Kirk Cousins, but it won’t change Dallas’s recent dominance of this rivalry.
Los Angeles Rams -10 vs. San Francisco 49ers
The Rams are in need of a statement win after allowing both the Broncos and Seahawks to cover, and they’ll get it against the surprisingly feisty 49ers. I expected San Francisco to collapse on itself like the Ottoman Empire, but they’ve kept games close against the Chargers and Packers despite C.J. Beathard taking over for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo. Still, we’ve seen the Chargers keep games close against everyone and Green Bay might just not be very good this year. The Rams should get out to a big lead early, and I’ll be rooting against the backdoor cover.
Kansas City Chiefs -6.5 vs. Cincinnati Bengals
I get to pick Patrick Mahomes at home going against the NFL’s 24th-ranked defense, and I don’t even have to give up a full touchdown! The Bengals aren’t as scary after losing Tyler Eifert to injury, and they’ve struggled to score without big assists from their defense in games against the Colts and the Dolphins. Kansas City will be looking to bounce back strong from last week’s wild game against the Patriots (I told you to go over 60), and they should win running away.
Atlanta Falcons -5.5 vs. New York Giants
If there’s a defense set to allow Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr. to showcase their athleticism and run wild to give Giants’ fans false hope, it’s Atlanta’s. Injuries continue to mount, and New York shouldn’t have any trouble finding big plays. As long as the Falcons can follow the Eagles’ lead and keep those plays out of the end zone, the Giants’ offense will grind to a halt and come up short once again. On the other side of the ball, Matt Ryan shouldn’t have any trouble crossing the 30-point threshold for the 5th time this season against the NFL’s 27th-ranked defense. Don’t pick the Giants until they can score 20 points twice in a row (the last time was weeks 5 and 6 of last season).
That's all for this week! Kick back, grab a drink, and feel free to blame me if you put money on these picks and come out behind. I won't compensate you, but maybe your significant others will send their wrath in my direction instead of yours.